Friday, 04 May 2007, 11:42
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 NEW DELHI 002142
NSC FOR ABRAMS
EO 12958 DECL: 05/04/2017
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PINR, IR, IN
SUBJECT: IRAN MANIPULATING INDIAN ELITE OPINION-MAKERS
Classified By: Charge Geoffrey Pyatt for Reasons 1.4 (B,D)
1. (C) This cable contains an action request for SCA. Please see paragraph 6.
New Iranian Mischief
2. (C) Ambassador K.V. Rajan, former Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs and current Chairman of the Prime Minister’s National Security Advisory Board (NSAB), called Charge May 4 for an urgent meeting in which he told Charge that he had been invited by the Iranian Embassy for an all expenses paid trip for “politicians, scholars and commentators.” The list of invitees in a fax from the Iranian Embassy press section included notorious America-critics, such as XXXXXXXXXXXX. The visit was scheduled for April 28-May 4, and the Embassy said the guests would meet Iranian officials, scholars and would visit “one or two Iranian nuclear establishment(s).” Reports this week in the “Asian Age” and “The Hindu” indicate the group visited the Arak Heavy Water Complex and met with Minister of Energy Parviz Fatah.
3. (C) Rajan told Charge that this trip was part of an effort on the part of the Iranian government to encourage anti-American, pro-Muslim scholars and think-tankers in India to influence Prime Minister Singh’s supporters to take a more pro-Iranian, anti-U.S. view, and that his presence on the delegation would have handed Iran a PR coup. In light of his suspicions, Rajan canceled at the last minute, citing a sudden family emergency. Following is the invitee list, which Rajan provided to Charge:
India Seeks U.S. Help
4. (C) To counter this new and worrying effort to reach out to Indian opinion makers, Rajan proposed a visit to the United States starting May 14 in his NSAB capacity for five to seven days to talk to officials, think tanks, and the intelligence community to discuss ways to understand better U.S. assessments of Iran. He would expect this to feed into NSAB discussion of Iran policy options.
5. (C) Rajan’s analysis of Iranian intentions to influence PM Singh’s domestic constituencies is deeply worrying and spot-on, and confirms what we have been reporting. Rajan also noted stepped up Iranian funding to sympathetic Shia clerics. The United Progressive Alliance government is deeply interested in appeasing its Muslim and Left Front
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supporters, and is concerned about the outcome of elections in Uttar Pradesh state, where a large number of Muslim constituents reside. We see evidence that Iran has been buying off journalists, clerics and editors in Shia-populated areas of Uttar Pradesh and Kashmir, doling out large sums to stoke anti-Americanism. Now, it seems Iran is focusing squarely on influential elite audiences in Delhi, with a view to shaping the debate of India’s IAEA policy and the nuclear deal.
ACTION REQUEST: HIGH-LEVEL MEETINGS
6. (C) To counter this insidious new Iranian effort, we recommend Rajan receive meetings, if possible, with:
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